One year of Uriyadi - The brutally honest thriller

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One year of Uriyadi - The brutally honest thriller

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It isn’t all that usual for a movie to stick with you for more than a fortnight. It could stay with you for a month, or two in some cases. But to occupy the minds of many who fervently gush about it on social media and elsewhere to this day, one year after its release, is a feat achieved by the precious gem that is Uriyadi. It has been talked about as a very important political thriller; one of it’s kind, in Tamil cinema. Vijay Kumar’s production house is named ‘Souvenir Productions’, aptly so – Uriyadi is a souvenir for us to cherish forever.

Uriyadi gave every person a reason to celebrate it. It gave them a chance to reminisce their college memories, their casual crush, and their carefree days. What it delivered along with this pleasantness is an unpalatable truth in a world-class style of filmmaking. If dealing with the sensitive issue of caste based vote bank politics was its selling point, the completely enthralling screenplay was a welcome surprise. The realistic approach and originality were a breath of fresh air. Uriyadi was made with respect for audiences’ intelligence and not compromised with ‘commercial’ elements but left to be the masterpiece that it is.

Every scene was bold and wrought with intensity. The intermission Dhaba fight is widely known for its beautiful chaos and credibility. (It rakes in views every time someone shares it.) What went comparatively under-noticed is the brilliantly scripted and executed lodge scene and hostel murder scene, which are bordering on mad genius. To write an almost 20-minute length segment, with no dialogues at all, and to pull it off the way he did, the filmmaker deserves to be lauded. It's amazing that a movie on politics and caste could be made, without mentioning or antagonizing any particular group.

Be it the cute little proposal scenes in the love song or the funny pranks in the college song, it is evident that every detail was carefully thought out to perfection. The maturity in handling young love and it’s rejection is noteworthy – with violence brought on by immaturity in handling breakups on the rise in recent times, the mutual indifference that Agnes and Lenin Vijay displayed were a welcome respite.

Let me ask you. The old man who was refused food, did he shake up that ounce of mercy that was lurking in you? The first slap outside the Dhaba, did it awaken your consciousness? The nonchalant students, did they make you yearn for that ‘freedom’ you once had? Did their reckless bravado make you listlessly wish for change and respite from overzealous politicians? It did do that and much more. Uriyadi won hearts and ignited minds. It invigorated youngsters to speak out against discrimination, to take a stand against casteism. It prompted an open discourse on vote bank politics, a rampant plague of our times. And, that is success.

The intent and sacrifice behind the making of Uriyadi are what baffles one. Vijay Kumar intended to make a socially impactful film as his contribution to Tamil cinema. Boy, did he deliver! Uriyadi is an unabashedly genuine portrayal of casteism and violence made without disregard to our sensibilities. Yet, we, the audience and the powers that be, collectively wronged a film that showcased the wrongs in our society. Uriyadi was plagued by nature (uncut footage was lost in the Chennai floods), censor (suffered several cuts), lack of theatre screens and piracy. Recognitions, one after another, only reinforce our resentment. To transcend cultural borders for its content, like the screening in the Politics Institute of Wroclaw University, Poland, despite not being widely released, is remarkable.

A regular man with no prior knowledge or much experience, dared to venture into this vast wilderness and how! It is not every day that someone conceives a revolutionary idea, puts it on paper, gives it life and sells his fortune to tell his story in celluloid. From where did Vijay Kumar draw the inspiration, the good intent, the courage, the unique sense of perception, the effrontery, the brilliance in craft, where from? One hopes this filmmaker is here to stay for sheer genius deserves to be nourished and nurtured, recognized and rewarded. Looking forward to his next being an encore deliverance of sincerity like the fiercely unapologetic Uriyadi.

 

"சமூகத்தின் சமநிலை தவறும் போதெல்லாம் சகலமும் அவலமாகும். மனிதத்தன்மை கேள்விக்குறியாகும். பொறுமை காத்தால் உடமை பறிபோகும். உரிமை காக்க  போராடுவதே கடமை".


Prabha Rajasekaran
prabharajasekaran1@gmail.com
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